The back downside of celebrity

Trust internet news bottom feeders Fairfax Online to bring us the story about Jennifer Love Hewitt’s bum. There’s a good analysis of all this at Feministe, where Lauren rightly praises Love Hewitt for taking aim at her critics, and defending the right of all women to wear bikinis even if their size and shape doesn’t fit the costume for the media machine and the male gaze beauty police. The SMH story observes:

Several sites posted the shots, along with some less-than-complimentary comments.

And that’s putting it rather mildly. Bloody abusive comments, I’d say. But what’s even worse, and what’s encouraged by the way the celebrity merchants in the press report this story, is the comments from readers. Poor old Love Hewitt just can’t win – take this response at a blog on the SF Gate website:

Just admit it. You are upset about your own butt and not the butts of millions of insecure girls without a television program and money for specially tailored dresses.

And that’s not unrepresentative, and there’s a hell of a lot worse out there on the intertubes. Here, for the record, is Love Hewitt’s response:

To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini — put it on and stay strong.

Amen to that.

I reckon she looks perfectly healthy, and gorgeous. Like the swimsuit, too! 😉

jennifer love hewitt bikini

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Posted in culture, feminism, health, media, politics, sociology, television
106 comments on “The back downside of celebrity
  1. FDB says:

    I’d hit it.

    Obviously she’s being compared with her barely-pubescent self when she came to attention.

  2. Sam Clifford says:

    She is the first of a disturbing new subculture; celebrities without image problems or eating disorders. How will we sell magazines now?!

  3. FDB says:

    It’s probably just jealousy re: the sensational norgs too.

  4. Alex says:

    I think that she looks great – and healthy too.

  5. Debbie(aussie) says:

    Good on her! She looks fantastic!
    I just hope she doesn’t go off and lose a lot of weight, which seems to happen after unwarranted criticisms like this, eg: Christine Agulaira.

  6. joe2 says:

    I would not recommend anybody surfing in any further for the ‘bum shot’. You will come out feeling dirty and your computer likely in need of Ad-Aware attention. If you do see it you may conclude, like me, that she would look better without the swimsuit though the top looks good from the front.

    Nude swimming is always best and is flattering for all shapes and sizes.

  7. Birdie says:

    For JLH – from Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
    Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
    Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
    The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me.

    Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,
    And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.

    Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
    And all thy heart lies open unto me.

    Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
    A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.

    Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
    And slips into the bosom of the lake:
    So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
    Into my bosom and be lost in me.

  8. While, judging from the ads, that show Love Hewitt stars in is absolute rubbish, she certainly deserves respect for responding to the pricks who run the gossip blogs.

  9. Sam Ward says:

    Presumably those guys commenting on a blog about JLH are hitting much hotter girls at home. Most blog commentors are international swinging playboys.

  10. Paul Burns says:

    Have actually seen the bum shot. Yesterday on the Today show in the Hollywood gossip section.
    Was the same day Rudd chided Stepanoviv for referring to Therese Rein as an object, and the two jocks at the Today Show, Cameron and Carl, decided they didn’t like – surprise! – Germaine Greer.Whereupon I concluded they hadn’t read any of her books. Carl I wouldn’t expect to, but Cameron frequently shows flashes of intelligence and culture.
    Musta been something in the air that day.

  11. joe2 says:

    Yep, Paul B. They always bag Germs.
    There really should be place opened up for Greer in the new govmint.
    What was that job Pru Goward had?

    That’s it – Sex Discrimination Commissioner.

  12. David Rubie says:

    The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the pushin’
    That’s what I said
    The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand
    Or so I have read

    My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo
    I’d like to sink her with my pink torpedo

    Big bottom, big bottom
    Talk about bum cakes, my girl’s got ’em
    Big bottom drive me out of my mind
    How could I leave this behind?

    Spinal Tap

    What’s wrong with being sexy?

  13. Stephen Bayne says:

    Ugh. As I’ve said a million times people with a few extra pounds on and up are the safe minority these days. You can’t pick on someone because of race, colour, credd or even sexuality but did you see how big Jennifer Love Hewitt’s butt has gotten.

    *cue hill billy laughter*

    It’s amazing how the human race always finds a way to be intolerant.

  14. Enemy Combatant says:

    Geez she’s beautiful! Reckon Norman Lindsay would have thought so too.

  15. dj says:

    She is a victim of her own participation and complicity in the very culture she is criticising. Sad but inevitable.

  16. philiptravers says:

    She isnt seeking attention by means other than than the Beauty Gaze Police approval is she!? So I bet she doesnt think I am handsome…and in a fit of self honesty clothes may maketh the man,but gees what a horror it is sometimes in the wondrous reality of light! I suppose the said Police as well as always expressing absolute confidence as handsome fellows are then passing what is in the eye of the beholder!? Why not encourage people not to be stupid about how they look,after all looking at paintings over a long time across cultures would suggest that beauty isnt the same under all light all centuries..and even those in Muslim dress are not always ugly are they,from watching movement posture and reaction!?

  17. kimberella says:

    Presumably those guys commenting on a blog about JLH are hitting much hotter girls at home. Most blog commentors are international swinging playboys.

    Sam, you said it right dude!

    She is a victim of her own participation and complicity in the very culture she is criticising. Sad but inevitable.

    Really? Is it so simple? When she went to the beach, she was complicit in some fucked paparazzi taking photos uninvited and then some “celeb” website captioning them the way they did? Cause she’s on tv, she’s not entitled to privacy? Is it all her own fault? Nothing to do with her gender, of course, hey, dj?

  18. kimberella says:

    Ugh. As I’ve said a million times people with a few extra pounds on and up are the safe minority these days. You can’t pick on someone because of race, colour, credd or even sexuality but did you see how big Jennifer Love Hewitt’s butt has gotten.

    Dude, sorry, what’s meant by “a few extra pounds?”… compared to what… as FDB said, when she was just a young kid in Party of Five? Compared to the acceptable celeb figure?

    She’s 28, I think. I’m 34. I’ve always had hips. I guess my boobs are a tad less firm than they were when I was when I was 28, and then a tad less firm than when I was 18. But, you know, deal. I have an intellect which is firmer than when I was younger!

    And since I assume you’re a reasonable person too, I don’t need to spell out the whole deal for you…

  19. Darlene says:

    David Rubie, anyone who posts the lyrics of that classic Spinal Tap tune gets my vote.

    She does look great, although I have to agree somewhat with dj.

    At any rate, it’s women who are the most bitchy about this topic. We as a gender are complicit in this crap. You might get a couple of arse ugly geek boys making comments about women’s appearance on blogs because it increases their feelings of masculinity. However, it’s women who buy the stupid magazines, watch the stupid shows, buy the stupid etc etc

  20. David Rubie says:

    Darlene wrote:

    However, it’s women who buy the stupid magazines, watch the stupid shows, buy the stupid etc etc

    Men read them too Darlene, just on the quiet (but they *never* buy them). It’s an odd set of values that doesn’t favour ladies with larger hips – they make it easier for the babies to come out just for starters. I wish I could remember where the critique of modern body image was that surmised we had created a culture that favoured everybody looking like adolescent boys (skinny, slim hips, hairless, bony masculinised faces etc). I don’t think it 100% jibed with the breast implant phenomenon but it may just have been about catwalk models.

    I do know that flicking through New Idea for skin jollies just ain’t what it used to be. I like to think that the enduring appeal of Sophia Loren, Helen Mirren and Raquel Welch shows that the robustly sexual womanly figure isn’t dead yet.

  21. Helen says:

    However, it’s women who buy the stupid magazines, watch the stupid shows, buy the stupid etc etc

    Um, like FHM, Darlene? and Zoo?

  22. Katz says:

    Darlene:

    However, it’s women who buy the stupid magazines, watch the stupid shows, buy the stupid etc etc

    Helen:

    Um, like FHM, Darlene? and Zoo?

    You’re both correct.

    The male gaze long pre-dated the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Before the sexual revolution of the 1960s, however, that gaze was codified, ciphered, and confined to a male sphere whose existence was probably suspected by women. But women were not constantly subjected to the products that pandered to that male gaze.

    The sexual revolution of the 1960s changed all that. What used to be codified is now frank. what used to be ciphered is now blatant. What used to be confined is now mainstream.

    This must be a little disappointing to the proponents of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. They assumed that frankness, openness and liberty would increase understanding between the sexes. And they assumed that greater understanding would result in greater empathy.

    It would be incorrect to say that nothing of the sort happened. Millions of people have more satisfactory relationships as a result of the sexual revolution.

    However, there has been a toxic by-product as well. Trash culture has hitched a ride on the sexual revolution. It’s virulent and nasty. But on the other hand, it provides a quick way to decide who is worth the time of day.

    Anyone who has been too powerfully influenced by trash culture is a loser.

    Isn’t knowing more or less immediately that someone is a loser better than going through to the trouble of finding out over an extended period of time and then going through the agonies of dropping them?

  23. Alex says:

    Zoo’s ‘win your girlfriend a boob job’ comp, will truely become a pivital moment in feminist history.

  24. Paul Burns says:

    Apperrently the Channel 9 Puppets has a re-think on Jennifer’s butt this morning and decided that the stuff being posted on the internet (which I have not seen and do not want to see)was very very offensive.This conclusion may have been the result of collusion between the woman presenter and the gay Hollywood gossip, but I’m just guessing here.Cetrainly the little gay guy from Los Angeles, who is screamingly entertaining (or at least I think so)was very strong on it being offensive.
    So maybe there’s hope out there in Lowest Common Denominator Land. (Is that too snobbish?)

  25. Mick Strummer says:

    I just clicked on the link to Love Hewitt’s response, and down the bottom was a little ad that claimed to link to nude photos of the actress. It actually went over to a bio that was about eight years out of date, but if this is where she published her blog, then she is keeping some pretty strange company. Cheers…

  26. dj says:

    Hewitt is a tv and film actor, which by it’s very nature is about selling an impossible fantasy (if someone had not told me this was her, I would not recognise her at all) to the audience in order to sell advertising time or take box office cash. Most of the films I have ever seen her associated with trade upon her appearance emphasising how *hot* she is etc. She has undoubtedly received significant financial and social benefits because of her participation in this culture of unreality and relied on people feeling like they should find something to obsess about or worship in her appearance. It’s an industry which has a large number of people that soon turns upon the talent once they no longer fit the prescribed role/look/beliefs, it’s an industry obsessed by appearance.

    So, yes, given the fact that there is as much money to be be made from tearing these people down as there is building them up, it is almost inevitable something like this will happen, as actors are normal human beings who do not have access to real-time photoshopping provided to them by a deity. The paparazzi are just bottom feeders in the whole ecology of celebrity. No where did i say this was a good thing, say she is hideous or criticse her based upon her appearance. Our obsession with surface values is something that is ruining our world on so many levels – celebrity obsession, political spin, ecological damage…

  27. Darlene says:

    Oops…Helen, I should have said women buy lots of the stupid magazines (e.g. Cleo and Cosmo).

    And it’s women that I hear being venonomous about other women’s weight, generally speaking. I probably don’t waste my time listening to the kind of lads that read Zoo.

  28. Helen says:

    Hewitt is a tv and film actor, which by it’s very nature is about selling an impossible fantasy … … Most of the films I have ever seen her associated with trade upon her appearance emphasising how *hot* she is etc. She has undoubtedly received significant financial and social benefits because of her participation in this culture of unreality and relied on people feeling like they should find something to obsess about or worship in her appearance. It’s an industry which has a large number of people that soon turns upon the talent once they no longer fit the prescribed role/look/beliefs, it’s an industry obsessed by appearance.

    ……it is almost inevitable something like this will happen

    Right, that’s why I see photos of Clint Eastwood, Anthony Hopkins, Jon Heder and Adam Sandler all. the. time. with offensive remarks about their butts on the internets. Simply cannot get away from it.

    Pull the other one.

  29. Paul Burns says:

    Who’s John Heder? And I’m not6 being funny. I’ve never heard of him.

  30. David Rubie says:

    Helen, I remember Ryan O’Neal, John Travolta etc getting a fair bit of flack for being fatter than they were when they were 20, although compared to the cult of cellulite photography that surrounds women, it’s a drop in the ocean.

    In a fair world, that oaf Russell Crowe would cop it 24/7, but apparently being an oaf is enough to get away with a less than perfect appearance. Perhaps our female celebrities would benefit from cultivating the image of being drunken slobs.

  31. dj says:

    I do not think the discussion on those sites is warranted, inevitable or something to be encouraged, nor do i have any intention of participating in it. That the media will find someone willing to take these pictures (usually of a female actor) and sell copy with those pictures is. Yes, it is a double standard applied to female actors, who are usually promoted on the basis of their purported attractiveness as opposed to male actors who get more varied roles and have less concentration upon their appearance.

  32. FDB says:

    Part of the problem might be that women are in general so much better looking than men.

    *runs*

  33. Nabakov says:

    Stephen Fry’s written a nice little essay on the subject of fame which discussed celebrities’ rights to privacy amongst other things. And boy, has he got a big bum.

  34. Darlene says:

    Jon Heder is the dude from Napoleon Dynamite and that other film about the ice skating blokes.

    “Our obsession with surface values is something that is ruining our world on so many levels – celebrity obsession, political spin, ecological damage…”

    Good point, dj.

    Nabakov, what has S. Fry (who’s blog is a cracker) got against doing a Melchett “baahh” when asked? He owes it to his public.

    PS – you haven’t confirmed my Facebook “How did I meet you” thing.

  35. Roseanne Rosannadanna says:

    It’s always something. If your bum’s not too big, then your tits are too small. Too many earrings, or not enough. And if you’re one of the legendary “Giraffe-Neck Women of Burma” with the crazy stacks of gold rings holding your head upright cause your vertebrae are overextended and useless, then the dear help you if your neck is too short. All the other giraffe-neck girls will point at you and giggle behind your back and say to each other, “Giraffe-neck Girlfriend, did you SEE the silly-ass short giraffe-neck on that bitch? I bet she only got about twenty-two gold rings holding up that sorry head of hers! I bet if you took off them gold rings, her head wouldn’t even flop over and snap her neck like mine would, which is why I made the cheerleading squad and she didn’t! She could probably hold her head upright just by using her neck muscles! Damn, that poor girl probably even got NORMAL cervical vertebrae development! That neck ain’t even long enough for her to pick an egg out of the tree-top nests of the unusual nesting birds that inhabit our peculiar Burmese land. How she EVAH gonna find a husband?”

    Well, like my great-grandmother, Nana Roseannadanna used to always say, Rosie, don’t-a you a-worry about how a-short you a-neck is, or how big-a you bum is, or those weird-a birthmarks you got that look like a map to a buried-a treasure. ALL-a you got to remember is, how to cook-a this lasagna I’m-a gonna show you how to make, and you ain’t never gonna have to worry about attracting a man, EVER in-a you life!

    And she was right!

  36. Stephen Bayne says:

    @ kimberella.

    I don’t really know what you’re getting at. All I was saying is that to me it just seems to me that human race just have to have someone to descriminate against. And if you think I’m being melodramatic I’ve got a links to an site from an organization that seeks to stamp out fat people. As someone on another board I frequent said she’s really just gone from being a size 0 to a size 2. It’s sick that she’s being treated this way.

  37. Shaun says:

    I can’t believe no one has commented on JLH’s obviously sharp knees. Way below my standards.

  38. kimberella says:

    Apologies if I misread the intention of some people’s comments last night – it was late!!!

  39. Casey says:

    For various reasons, I have a soft spot for Jennifer. I watch her show. Cause I really like her clothes (but, tell me, how does she come to afford them when the only customers who come into her antique shop are dead people though?) and the terrible story lines. Mostly I love how she never accurately relays the ghosts messages to their loved ones, but changes them for reasons unknown to the ghosts or to me for that matter. If I were a ghost I would be very perturbed with her translations.

    Anyway, I think she looks fine, beautiful. But here is an example of a young woman who works in an industry which thrives on impossible images of women. And here she has partipated in the manufactured image of perfection as defined by the media and her industry which is in turn ordered by the male gaze, and has traded on that, and has made money from that. Some commenters here suggest this makes her complicit in her own crucifixion by media and public. And that she should suck it up. This fails to acknowledge that Love Hewitt has done something quite unique. She has allowed her own departure from that airbrushed and skeletal perfection of earlier years. She has fallen into the real flesh of a woman (whatever that is for each individual woman) and has subsequently experienced the retribution reserved for those who relinquish their own manufactured perfection and also their willing objectification. She has rejected a masculine ordering and the patriarchy is angry, as evidenced by its many minions, both male and female. Thats whats really going on here. Nothing more or less. The ordering of the fantasy of Jennifer Love Hewitt is fascinating to me because there are many censures taking place simultaneously. Eg, Those which uncritically abuse her for the flesh that falls outside their acceptable limits, and then there is the ordering of the purists who point to a certain complicity cause she has made a living from being the male gaze’s poster girl.

    Jennifer Love Hewitt is ok. She was ok when she happened to fall within the limits of the all american fantasy girl and most certainly, she is ok now. In my opinion, it is incorrect to critique her for the curve of her flesh, but it is also deeply disturbing to see her critiqued for her use of a the male gaze which approved of her earlier physique. We all live in the real world, and sometimes we take and make our own power where and how we can. And then one day, if we are strong enough, we can also reject that we once felt bound to conform to. Now unless you have lived a life of pure principle from day one, without conceding once to the pressures of our culture which attempt to order us from birth to death, then I suggest you rethink your critique of Love Hewitt along those terms.

  40. mister z says:

    FDB @ #1:

    I’d hit it.

    FFS that has got to be one of the most vile & depersonalizing common turns of phrase in a supposed compilment. At least say “I’d do HER”, then you’re at least acknowledging there’s a human person there you’re drooling over.

  41. kimberella says:

    Casey – great comment!

  42. Casey says:

    Thanks Kim. Great post.

  43. Birdie says:

    But, worse, FDB said “hit”, didn’t he, with the implied violence of bashing or, more likely, spanking, given that the fetish object here is a women’s arse.

    Beauty is a search for an ideal, for perfection even. And because of its identification with women, or Woman, it can trigger the usual ambivalence that comes from the (male) urge to denigrate the feminine. Beauty begs for denigration even more so when it falls short of perfect or is produced or manufactured, which reveals the truth that it is not entirely natural.

    The idealising function of beauty too is to console. But because of its association with the feminine, and all that entails, and because of its unattainability, which torments and frustrates, and because of its partly theatrical and artificial character, it often fails to console.

    The beauty of nature (other than human) is better, higher, more consoling.

  44. Helen says:

    Casey!
    Please get a blog, immediately!
    Or tell us about it if you already have one.

    I think your last sentence approached the truth better than the whole of the last paragraph – I think this thread doesn’t put enough weight on the fact that there is pressure to conform to the attractive female stereotype, and as an actor I think that pressure would come in very virulent forms – lose that weight or lose the role, get that work done or get your series axed – so, as you say, staying “pure” would require evey female actor to be a Mandela.

    And yes, “I’d hit it” is a toxic bit of US slang and it would be good if we grownups could apply a bit of Border Security and not adopt it as our own, m’kay?

  45. Birdie says:

    And feminine beauty can never, ever, be possessed by men. Which is also why some are moved to say they’d “hit it”.

    I’d never heard of JLH or seen a photo of her (American trash culture and its outlets is not my bag) but the photo above is one, yes, of beauty, as vapid and philistine a comment as that often is, particularly to recipients, but it speaks much more to me as an image of an artifice-free, relaxed, exuberant, happy woman revealing in her glowing youthful healthiness and the sensuous embrace of the sea, the glorious sea.

  46. Birdie says:

    vapid and philistine a *compliment*

  47. Liam Hogan says:

    And feminine beauty can never, ever, be possessed by men.

    I don’t know, Bowie in the late 70s was pretty OK, but perhaps that’s a topic for another thread.
    And yes, I pity the fool who doesn’t know when to stop using US slang. Word.

  48. David Rubie says:

    Which is also why some are moved to say they’d “hit it”.

    I don’t want to be seen as a wet blanket or anything, but the “I’d hit it” response was meant (I think) to be a humorous reference to fark. In the recent past, they’d post “boobie” links in which the standard commentary was one of 3 or 4 stock responses, most of which FDB used in the thread. I thought it was kind of funny if a little insensitive given the topic. Unless you’ve wasted time on Fark, it probably wasn’t funny at all.

    It does raise an interesting problem though. Most of us (ahem, older) fellows grew up surrounded by a male culture that was still slapping women in the workplace on the bum on the TV. We’re not sure what an appropriate response to this kind of post really is. It comes across like the unanswerable question: “Do I look fat in this?”. Standing resolutely beside the sisterhood harrumphing just comes off as sycophancy. Ignoring the fact that we like to look at boobs is denying the reality of the situation. “I’d hit it”, was to me a kind of funny (ha-ha) way of paying a compliment without being a crawly bum lick.

  49. FDB says:

    It’s also (as far as I know, and certainly as far as I intended) a reference to her bottom, not her ineffable self.

    I was being flippant, and “acting out” as D.R. says (thanks for that), but I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone.

  50. Birdie says:

    Liam, there are multiple meanings to “possess” in this context. I meant a rather different meaning than your response implies/suggests.

    All I ask is you go away and think about it. Or consult the OED. Or perhaps ask She For Whom Your Bell Tolls.

    *vote of confidence*

  51. FDB says:

    I’m fairly sure Liam knew what you meant Birdie. It was another of those confounded jokes you seem to have such trouble with.

  52. Casey says:

    “It does raise an interesting problem though. Most of us (ahem, older) fellows grew up surrounded by a male culture that was still slapping women in the workplace on the bum on the TV. We’re not sure what an appropriate response to this kind of post really is. It comes across like the unanswerable question: “Do I look fat in this?”. Standing resolutely beside the sisterhood harrumphing just comes off as sycophancy. Ignoring the fact that we like to look at boobs is denying the reality of the situation.”

    Now David Rubie, you have me interested. Are you suggesting you are quite incapable of differentiating between what is a rigid sexual objectification and ordering of the acceptable feminine and what is an appropriate way to express an attraction and appreciation for a woman’s body? .

    I dont go for this ” I dont know what to say routine”. And I suspect you know the difference between the two. And this is not a post about how to feel sorry for the man who no longer knows what to say in the new scheme of things. This is a post about a woman who is being excoriated for rejecting the stereotype and daring to affirm her decision publicly. Now lets go back to considering her.

    And IMO “Do I look fat in this” is some weird urban myth circulated by masculine order. A stereotyping of female insecurity. I have never met a woman who asked a man “do I look fat in this?”. Maybe its happened but not in my circle. Rather, this pops up quite often in commercials and the like. A trap set by insecure women on poor unwitting men. And it goes to essentialisation of the female. It says we are a mystery. An emotional, unpredictable moody mystery. Tell us the right thing and we will adore you. Tell us the wrong thing and we turn. And you are poor blokes dont know what to say or do or be.

    Now yes, its true, you could accuse me of being a purist here. Taking you to task for falling into “I dont know what to do Im just a man” retreat. Ok Im not that absolute. Hows this: you might check out the comments from lesbians. They are quite ok with expressing desire and attraction where they find it, without any attendant objectification. You might take your cues from them if you really get stuck.

  53. David Rubie says:

    Casey wrote:

    Now David Rubie, you have me interested. Are you suggesting you are quite incapable of differentiating between what is a rigid sexual objectification and ordering of the acceptable feminine and what is an appropriate way to express an attraction and appreciation for a woman’s body?

    Yes. Absolutely.

    you might check out the comments from lesbians.

    Few of the commenters on this particular thread indicated their sexual orientation (or even sex). I’m not sure I want to take too many cues from some of the more aggressive lipsnigers, as they’ve occasionally fallen into the objectification trap themselves juding by that “L” word show.

    Now I realise a lot of the call/response appreciation of others bodies is largely dependent on context (it’s never OK at work, it’s fine at home in a jokey way, at the barber it’s essential, it’s a massive, murky grey area the rest of the time) and for many of us the safest way out in public is to say nothing and look nowhere. Mostly I was just defending FDB for making an in-joke and giving it some easily understood context (hence the “fat in this” cliche).

    And it goes to essentialisation of the female. It says we are a mystery. An emotional, unpredictable moody mystery.

    Well, maybe. Maybe it’s just that a large number of us are insensitive clots who prefer things to be uncomplicated and rarely look forward to the bit of the month when the flags go up (ducks).

  54. Nabakov says:

    I’d let it hit me.

  55. FDB says:

    As a past victim of domestic violence, I find that remark extremely offensive Nabakov.

  56. David Rubie says:

    Nabakov wrote:

    I’d let it hit me

    Y’know, that could be a very neat reversal of the whole problem right there.

    It’s still offensive (sorta) as it has sexual objectified the object “it”, but it’s an invitation rather than a projection.

    I’m going to use it from now on i.e.

    Jennifer, I’d let you “hit” me, but not with a blunt object or anything (unless that’s part of the deal), in the sexual sense, if you felt like it, in a non-threatening place of safety and comfort with appropriate prophylactic and contraceptive measures of our mutual choice and I promise not to fall instantly asleep afterwards or make you sleep in the wet spot and yes I’m putting the jug on afterwards for a cup of tea and we better be quiet or we’ll wake the kids and no I won’t turn the light on if it makes you uncomfortable and yes I’ll take my socks off.

    Better?

  57. Darlene says:

    FDB, I presume you are being a naughty boy again.

    Casey, interesting comments as always. I have to say that I have heard women say that, and not just to men but to other women. Perhaps I’ve even said that. It’s yuck, but lots of women spend a lot of time thinking about their weight. I purchased Women’s Day last night (find out about the woman Warnie had a fling with for two years while still married to Simone) and there was an awful lot of “this is how I lost the weight”, “doesn’t Cindy look fab at 42” etc etc

    David, I am not sure the L Word is representative. It’s just a soap, not a bad one, but just a soap nevertheless. Alice is soooo cute and that other semi-butch bird is a bit of a babe. Women are capable of objectifying other women. Go to a lesbian bar and check out the sisters camped at the bar watching the fresh meat come in. Nevertheless, I think women are much less visual than men sexually (warning – sorry for being reductive).

  58. Darlene says:

    Isn’t “hit” just being used in a “hit on” type of way?

  59. FDB says:

    “FDB, I presume you are being a naughty boy again.”

    Yes and no. Telling the truth, but not actually offended. Naughty in the sense that I’m pretending not to be able to get past my righteous indignation and see a joke.

    There. Everyone loves a joke explained painstakingly, right?

  60. Darlene says:

    Alas, the problem with non face to face communication is that it sometimes demands the joke being painstakingly explained, particularly if people’s personal and political sensibilities are likely to be hurt. That’s yuck, I know. Life’s far too short to get offended by everything, but we all do from time to time. And what you are left with is a joke that has had all the life sucked out of.

    Did you hear the one about the Aussie bloke, the Irish bloke and the Yank? I don’t know how it goes but apparently they all needed to get some sleep once it was all over with.

  61. Darlene says:

    “And what you are left with is a joke that has had all the life sucked out of.”

    “Sucked out of it” that was meant to say. Cripes, sounds a bit rude whatever way you say it. Cue Benny Hill music.

  62. Su says:

    I protest. Where are the half naked pics of the other sex(es)?! All we get is @#%*?! Vladimir Putin with his shirt off. Never mind the point of the post.

  63. Katz says:

    Many folks here are hedging around the question about what is good manners when one makes comment about others’, especially women’s, physical appearance.

    Emily Post, who codified behaviour for the American middle classes, would have frowned upon any mention of such topics in public conversation. She remained discreetly silent about what might transpire between two persons behind closed doors.

    It appears to be an unspoken assumption that life is improved in some way when Emily Post’s taboos are ignored.

    Presumably, however, when one makes personal comment, the defence of truth or, worse still, sincerity, does not apply.

    There are deemed to be right ways to say complimentary things. There are deemed to be right ways to say uncomplimentary things. There are deemed to be wrong ways to say complimentary things. There are deemed to be wrong ways to say uncomplimentary things.

    The problem is that there exists enough disagreement among persons of good will about what comment fits under what category under what circumstance.

    This lack of agreement signifies the effects of great cultural change and ferment. These rules have not been bedded in.

    Emily Post wrote at a time (1922) when she could congratulate the American people for a vast improvement in manners over the previous generations. She actually meant that more Americans than ever before behaved according to the accepted code. America had embourgoisified itself. (Things have changed since.)

    Is it likely that a latterday Emily Post will step forward to give us some acceptable rules? I think it unlikely because there are some topics whose simple public mention endangers fragile relationships.

    Some things may indeed be best left unsaid.

  64. dj says:

    Su, are you saying Vladimir is not very good specimen of manly prowess and strength of Russian Bear?

    I hope FSB does not have your address!

  65. David Rubie says:

    The worst part about this thread is I keep getting derailed out of working and into appreciating the picture of JLH.

    Although, I can’t help wondering (a) what are those bubbles? and (b) if it needs a lolcats style caption: Invisible Teabag!

  66. FDB says:

    A problem also with not knowing your audience.

    I can do text jokes that my friends will see all the nuances of, and laugh uproariously I’m assured, whereas on a blog any passing keyboardist could be any combination of humourless, dense, non-English-as-a-first-language-speaking, obsessive about some particular issue such that jokes on it are verboten, or through their experiences simply unable to appreciate humour of certain kinds.

    It’s safest to take as a joke anything that seems like it might be, and to look for another explanation when something horrifies you at first glance. I don’t suppose I practice what I preach on that score though.

  67. FDB says:

    DR – lolz!!!1!1

  68. FDB says:

    Su – for you.

  69. dj says:

    Wow, Queer Eye really worked for Tony Abbot and his twin brother!

  70. Birdie says:

    Who said anything about the words “hit on” being “offensive”? If you feel a tad guilty folks now that a few home truths have been brought to your distracted attention, that’s your prerogative and business, folks. I certainly don’t feel offended by these words and why would you apologise FDB? I’d have to be emotionally involved with those who voiced them for that to even be possible, and I ain’t.

    No, FDB, Darlene, et al, I merely deconstructed for your edification (call it a community service, if you like) the implicit, evidently though not atypically unconscious meaning behind the words as they are used by emotionally coarse, language-deprived, unimaginative, usually bogan men towards women of sexual interest.

    And as far as the joke defense goes… well, ‘twould be too tedious to answer such (another!) obviously dumb ploy. True, if you need a deconstruction of “joking” I’d be happy to oblige, if I wasn’t so goddam lazy. But I rather think that it’d be taking coals to Newcastle for the more evolved readers here (and I know there are a few), and pearls before swine for the trash-culture-mind-fucked opposites.

    Besides, your medicine is self-administered. So suck it up amigos, and enjoy!

    Olé!

  71. FDB says:

    “pearls before swine for the trash-culture-mind-fucked opposites.”

    Wow, you’re really really pompous aren’t you? I certainly regret apologising now. On reflection, for your suggestion that I’m so frustrated by inability to possess womens’ beauty that I deliberately choose words that connote violence towards women, perhaps the shoe ought to have been on the other foot apology-wise.

    But of course, your oh-so-educated opinion of why I said what I said is bound to be correct, so I don’t expect one. Should I call the dometic violence hotline for help right now, or wait till the jokes get more serious?

    Rest assured, you won’t be troubled next time I’m after “edification” on comedy. Or anything else.

  72. Darlene says:

    One for the girls and queer boys (combines two posts):

    I want to get my cat to have a LOLcat picture but she never makes silly faces or does silly things. Indeed, at the moment she’s probably at home reading “Stop Using Cats in Stupid Photographs with LOLcats written on it – The Revolution is Near. Cats of the World Unite You have nothing to lose but your comfy chair and regular meals”. Sorry, way off track.

    Well, someone was offended somewhere, Birdie.

  73. Darlene says:

    Birdie, my cat’s breath smells like cat food. Either that or I am one of the “trash-culture-mind-fucked opposites.”

    Woo hoo!!!!

  74. dj says:

    It’s a giant hobbit!

  75. FDB says:

    While we’re exlaining jokes, for Birdie’s edification…

    Me saying “I’d hit it” and “sensational norgs” was meant to convey the notion that even sexist objectifying dicks who use such terms in all seriousness (i.e. not me) would find her attractive and shapely, and that as expressed later in comments some of the worst damage to womens’ body image is done by other women.

    Anyway – Darlene, my kitty choose my new avatar. You like?

  76. Birdie says:

    Sigh. FDB, my condescension and pomposity was deliberate and *my* joke.
    And you didn’t Get It! See how it feels? A joke to match your – whatever it was (sorry, I’m losing interest fast and can’t be bothered with the taxonomy thingie.

    I agree, some people are just totally humourless – except when they stick in the boot, innocently or not, to others – usually women.

  77. joe2 says:

    “I protest. Where are the half naked pics of the other sex(es)?! All we get is @#%*?! Vladimir Putin with his shirt off. Never mind the point of the post.”

    For u su 2

    http://photos.tmz.com/galleries/pauly_shore_bikini_babe

  78. Darlene says:

    I like your new avatar. Your kitty has good taste.

    Back to the topic…errr, what was the topic?

    Nope, I’ve had enough as well. Good post.

    Certainly better than this post by Sam from The Age who chose to cite Valerie Jean Solanas in a post about misandry (you know all those chicks that hate blokes). Yep, she’s representative. Although I thought misandry could also just mean the hatred of humankind, but whatever.

    Says Sammy:

    “The fact is, if you were to apply the same criteria to misandry that some feminists use for misogyny and its “pervasiveness” in Western culture, you couldn’t turn on your TV, open a newspaper or attend a hens night without being swamped by our “hatred for men”‘.

    http://blogs.theage.com.au/lifestyle/allmenareliars/archives/2007/12/man_haters.html?s_rid=theage:top5

  79. Birdie says:

    FDB: “some of the worst damage to womens’ body image is done by other women.”

    Yes, Darlene said pretty much the same thing, didn’t she. In fact, it is clear that she strongly believes this also because so many of her posts are full of women hatred and say similar things, over and over.

    Her views (underformed and ill-explained as they are) are her prerogative. But they are noted.

  80. Darlene says:

    Really, was I talking about that in my post about Nancy Spungen? About Summer Heights High? About the film about Joe Strummer? About Mary Bell who continues to bullied in adulthood for something you did as a child? Etc etc

    I am saying it because I’ve heard those sorts of comments a million times over. Sorry, it may suit your feminist cred to say otherwise, but I am making an honest assessment. Have you had a look at women’s magazines lately? Heard young girls and women talk. The case of young Megan Meier is a horrible example of the bullying that can be done to young girls by other young girls (and adults in that instance). Weight is often the focus (I am not going to the point to the hideous blog that has been constructed about her again). The other day I heard a female relative decrying her daughter (for the zillionth) time about her weight. Sorry, but I don’t just deal in high-brow culture. And I don’t pretend for an instant that I am the most intelligent person on the planet, but my don’t b/s me that I am not entitled to express what I see and have experienced.

  81. Darlene says:

    “Sorry, but I don’t just deal in high-brow culture.”

    What I should have said is that I don’t deal in high-brow culture at all, really.

  82. Anna Winter says:

    Her views (underformed and ill-explained as they are) are her prerogative. But they are noted.

    As are yours, Birdie.

  83. anthony says:

    “Sigh. FDB, my condescension and pomposity was deliberate and *my* joke.”

    Ah birdie, the joking never stops does it?

  84. joe2 says:

    Birdie the Christmas Turkey.

    Any recipes, anthony, for the stuffing?

  85. Klaus K says:

    I’m with Darlene on this one, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t be accepted that women can participate in the oppression of other women. If no woman accepted the patriarchal divide and conquer, then it couldn’t continue to function as it does. The psychological cruelty shown by some women towards other women is borne out on a daily basis, and is comparable in its prevalence to some of the forms of cruelty dished out by men.

  86. David Rubie says:

    All of this reminds me of that Simpsons quote:
    Teenager one: Are you being sarcastic, dude?
    Teenager two: I don’t even know anymore.

  87. Birdie says:

    Darlene, I know and understand what you are saying. But it is anti-feminist, pre-feminist even, but then that is a familar type too. Many women, of all ages, are untouched by feminism.

    I would recommend (being utterly sincere here) you read Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. All will be explained about what troubles you about women on women denigration and abuse. But the overall context and very profound explanation is feminist, not just generalised anti-women gossip.

  88. Birdie says:

    Anna Winter, honestly I’ll pay you a $100 if you can ever say anything substantial, about anything, other than cryptic, mean nothing one-liners!

  89. kimberella says:

    That’s nice, Birdie aka jinmaro – it’s pretty obvious who you are from your habit of trying to get into arguments with the same people (ie Liam, Anna, FDB). I’d advise people not to get sidetracked into “who’s feminister” arguments and stick to the topic, please.

  90. FDB says:

    Birdie the troll.

    Where have I heard that before?

    If you’re going to get stuck into someone and essentially continue a weeks/months old stoush out of pure vindictiveness, have the fucking decency to stick to one moniker, you slippery creep.

  91. Liam Hogan says:

    stick to the topic, please.

    Can do, Kimski, with pleasure. Back to gratuitous T&A, double entendre and the dulcet tones of innuendo.

    Are students in dramatic classes
    Graded with credits and passes
    If they’re able to act,
    Or is the code cracked
    On the sizes and shapes of their arses?

  92. FDB says:

    Milk, milk lemonade
    Round the corner, fudge is made
    Between globes wond’rous

  93. mister z says:

    Glad to hear your ‘I’d hit it’ usage was flippant FDB. Unfortunately I’ve a hair trigger for the phrase after hearing too many other blokes of X/Y age in recent years use it in a decidedly unironic fashion, coupled with other carefree misogyny. It makes my skin crawl. And maybe I’m of a different age (re: Casey @ 52) but fortunately I rarely feel harrumphing or syncophantic about calling it…

    righto sorry for interrupting. back to lurking..

  94. Birdie says:

    “That’s nice, Birdie aka jinmaro – it’s pretty obvious who you are from your habit of trying to get into arguments with the same people (ie Liam, Anna, FDB). I’d advise people not to get sidetracked into “who’s feminister” arguments and stick to the topic, please.”

    Ah, the ad hominem comes out like clock work. And LOL, the usual suspects gravitate to each other and project like mad Sooooooo transparent. I would’ve stuck to jinmaro, if my comments weren’t “moderated” for up to 7 hours or on GummoTrotsky’s thread deleted altogether. I find it hard to believe that you have expunged gandhi, who is a lil wet for my taste, but far more perceptive and intelligent than many.

    Anyways, whatevers, I’m out of here. Flying to Paris tomorrow.

    Happy New Year!

  95. j_p_z says:

    Regarding the kerfuffle over the expression “hit it”…

    You folks don’t listen to very much James Brown, do you.

    As for “toxic US slang”: och, lassie, best cover your ears, before I tell you what “rock and roll” really means.

    “That whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent.”
    — Flavor Flav

  96. Darlene says:

    Why is taking so long to download my new Itunes software? Nope it’s done.

    Feminism and different conceptions of it does relate to the topic, surely. That’s good advice, Birdie, and I am happy to take it. Nice if it hadn’t come in such a smug package, but you know, I am a big girl I can take it. If you are jinmaro, I am perplexed by your attitude about the other post (the Spungen one). Why is it not acceptable to talk about marginalised women like her? Why is it sick? Don’t answer because this is kimberella’s post.

    Anyway, getting off topic (sorry, Kimberella).

    Ummm, Liam’s poem was very funny. Cheers.

  97. Su says:

    ” I don’t pretend for an instant that I am the most intelligent person on the planet, but my don’t b/s me that I am not entitled to express what I see and have experienced.”

    Don’t sell yourself short and don’t apologize, Darlene (and Mister Z- I had the same reflex recoil from the words-as-written). That was a fab post on Nancy which got me thinking about Courtney Love and Pamela Courson et al and their reputations in comparison with Phil Spector, Ike Turner, Warren Zevon, Jackson Browne etc etc.

    Women do collaborate with the oppression of other women. They do it to smooth their own way in life. We don’t blame them for wishing to make their own lives easier but we do take issue with the notion that people can only advance themselves by standing on the necks of others in similar circumstances. I don’t think it is antifeminist to draw attention to the practice, far from it, I think it is old-fashioned consciousness raising which has many benefits, not least is the simple injunction to contemplate the meaning and effect of our own actions to/upon others.

    Thanks for the pics Joe 2, Darlene and FDB (I do remember when you were an altogether more coifed and steely avatar and your allusions were not misunderstood by many I would say; they certainly bring tears to my eyes as a fellow traveller in, I am sure, wildly different circumstances). I thought I was making a clever allusion to the way in which arguments about women being measured against a rigid standard of acceptable femininity often degenerate into “but she is actually really hot” statements, but I could equally have been thirsting for a bit of abc board style ‘balance’, and I have been duly punished by having to look at those images (OMFG Joe 2).

  98. kimberella says:

    Ah, the ad hominem comes out like clock work.

    In your imagination, because there wasn’t any, Birdie/jinmaro. I observed that you had a predilection to argue with the same people as jinmaro did and on the same issues! As to gandhi, he hasn’t been “expunged”. I myself had no problems with his comments on that other thread, but every thread is moderated by the original poster, and he chose to go away rather than engage with Gummo. That’s his choice. Just as it’s your choice to stop making comments designed to niggle at other commenters, and then maybe you wouldn’t find yourself moderated. It seems to me that 99% of the people who comment here have no problem at all, and the 1% who do are just the noisiest about saying so. But I’m not going to let myself get sidetracked any more, so happy new year to you too, and let’s have no more off topic comments on this post, please.

  99. Casey says:

    Far out, is Birdie really Jinmaro? But why the name change Jinmaro? I thought it was panelbeater bird gone insane after his tilt in Dobell. What a letdown. Now back to my ruby red wine.

  100. Darlene says:

    Cheers, Su. Just a measure of how I was feeling at the time. Interesting about Ike/Tina etc

    Too many stories of such women.

    Nothing left to really say about the post as such, just thought I’d leave a comment 100. Bingo.

  101. Birdie says:

    JPZ, I know we’ve well strayed into Orwellian territory here with Kim-Mark’s effete efforts to defend the expunging of Gandhi from LP, but I must point out that, songster as he may have been, James Brown was a wife and woman beater el supremo. I’m sure you and FDB can wax lyrical about him and such peccadillos when you meet, and the Casey-Darlene-Su chorus will, natch, sing encouraging, patriarchal-enhancing lullabies from afar.

    For, God’s in his heaven. And all’s right with the world. No?

  102. mbahnisch says:

    Birdie, your opinions on moderation practices at this blog have nothing to do with this thread. If you have anything to say which is directed at the substantive arguments and not at other commenters or LP’s moderation, then please say it. Otherwise, please respect our comments policy.

  103. FDB says:

    Oh, what a shame.

    Such a lot of pointless bickering, and I’m as much to blame as anyone.

    Strange that now I am drunk, it seems unappealing, but there you go.

    Still, Howard’s gone. And I’m leaving tomorrow for my mum’s huge 60th birthday party, so life is good.

  104. The very best to your Mum, FDB.

  105. Oops sorry that was me [blushes] I always think I’m Sir Cliff Richard until I’ve had my morning coffee.

  106. Anna Winter says:

    My mum loves you, Sir Cliff.

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